Ricotta with lavender and plums
For success with this subtle and unusual dessert, the ricotta should be creamy and without bits of curd. If it is not, add a teaspoon of milk or cream and blend to a creamy paste.
This recipe was kindly provided by Shaun Kelly, chef at the Parisian bistro Au Passage.
1 cup (250 g.) ricotta
1 tbsp. powdered sugar (icing sugar) or honey
1/2 cup (10 cl) water
1/2 cup (100 g.) + 1 tsp. sugar
5 or more lavender stalks, including flower heads
12 mirabelles or 6 small plums
olive oil (optional)
Place the ricotta in a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and stir. You may add a bit more to taste, but don’t make it overly sweet.
Combine the 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Add the lavender stalks, cutting in half to make them fit if necessary. Bring to a simmer over a medium flame. Simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. Strain into a clean jar, reserving the lavender flowers for decoration. (You will have more syrup than you need, and can keep what’s left over in the fridge for future use.)
Slice the mirabelles or plums in half, remove the pits and dust with 1 tsp. sugar. In a nonstick frying pan, place the sugared fruit cut-side down. Heat over a medium flame to caramelize slightly.
When the fruit begins to brown, remove from heat — but not too soon. As Shaun Kelly says, ‘You want to create that brulé effect.’ At the bistro, they sometimes actually grill the plums with a blow torch, but as most of us don’t keep those in our kitchens I would go with the stove-top grilling described here.
To serve, place a large dollop of the ricotta in the center of a small plate. Strew with mirabelle halves. Drizzle with lavender syrup. Decorate with a reserved lavender stalk or two. Sprinkle with a few drops of olive oil. Serves 2.